Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

The House of Representatives can actually pass a bill

How come I can’t make up a new tag for this? I wanted to tag it with “self driving cars” but that wasn’t a “match” so it wouldn’t let me do that.

Actually the 115th Congress has been pretty productive by most measures.

Yeah but if you listen to the news, you’d think that they haven’t been able to agree on anything yet.

1 Like

I’d prefer self driving car regulations to remain the provenience of the individual states until such time the technology is proven to be safe and effective.

I’m no fan of self driving cars or federal over-reach but the same as driver’s licenses are good in all 50 states, and cars licensed in one state car drive through the others, I think it is necessary. You wouldn’t want a self-driver to have to stop at the state line, especially since over-the-road trucks might be a major application. On the other hand passing the House is only part of the task.

Unless I missed it, this legislation doesn’t address the big elephant in the room with self-driving cars. Whose fault is it when the car screws up and runs a kid over? It’s going to happen - especially while in their infancy, self driving cars are going to encounter situations their programmers did not think of.

If my self-driving car plows into someone, I’m certainly not going to take the blame unless someone forces me to. And something tells me the car manufacturers aren’t going to take the blame either.

Without legislation spelling it out, we’re going to end up with a long, protracted court battle, and that shouldn’t be the goal.

I agree it shouldn’t be the goal but seems often times ends up that way. Not sure you can, (or maybe we just don’t) legislate the liability responsibility. Seems like that is left to legal precedent that gets decided when the first lawsuit is brought define the direction. You can look at that as if we are letting a jury of ordinary people decide how liability should be apportioned or Congress kicking the can down the road for someone else to decide.

I believe that ultimately, the person in command will still be liable for a self driving car accident. Just because the car steers, brakes, and follows a course without your input doesn’t mean you should just read a newspaper and not pay attention.

Hmmm…I see the phrase: “without human controls.”

1 Like

Car manufacturers have. Volvo has already stated that they will take full legal responsibility for any and all crashes of their vehicles.

Other manufacturers are fully expecting liability to shift from the individual to the manufacturer.

Of course the House can pass a bill. Their pay raise has never failed.


Of course… even if the manufacturers take over liability for the car in accidents, etc… implicitly you (as the owner/driver) have signed over control of the car to the manufacturer. It’d be in Volvo’s interests to impose whatever means they deem necessary to minimize their actual risk in the car YOU have purchased from them. I know that’s kind of vague.

I’ll keep driving my non-LTE hotspot car myself, thanks. Somehow I feel this self-driving car stuff is a solution in search of a problem, and a further attempt to encourage dependance on technology at the expense of our own initiative as well as control of our own lives.

They get an automatic pay raise unless they vote to decline it.

I apologize to the technology fans but I do not support self driving motor vehicles. I might change my mind in the future when they are proven to be nearly foolproof and my license is medically revoked. It only takes a DMV form signed by any doctor in my state.

I don’t see why a self driving car would be any different from a normal car in this respect. It would depend on the cause of the accident. If the cause was a fault in manufacturing, software, or a defective part, the manufacturer would be responsible. If the cause was maintenance neglect, the car’s owner would be responsible.

1 Like

It’s not that I’m a fan of technology, it’s that I’m a fan of reducing the number of deaths caused by driver error. Roughly 30,000 Americans die each year on American roads, and a great number of those deaths are preventable.

I’m sure everyone who isn’t medically able to drive now is comforted by the fact that you will eventually support this technology when it benefits you personally. That is very magnanimous of you. [/sarcasm]

I don’t support it either - in the state it’s in now. But then technology is changing (very rapidly). Software techniques and hardware is changing and getting much better. The first year they expect driverless cars to be ready for the general public is about 2032. It will be done in steps (very controlled steps). Taxis (which is being done now in Pittsburg PA on a limited area with a driver ready to take over) will be the first…delivery trucks and other limited commercial vehicles.

I think @sgtrock21 gave us one of the problems it’s solving - once Grandpa is too old to drive he has to sit around waiting for relatives or a senior citizen bus to take him places. If he could get in his car and have it drive him, it’d be a lot more convenient for everyone involved, and would help keep him from becoming depressed over the loss of independence.

As I’ve said before somewhere, they don’t have to be “nearly foolproof.” They only have to be more foolproof than the system we have now. Even if the computer makes the occasional mistake, and kills the occasional person, it would be hard to reasonably argue that we should refuse to use it. Human drivers make mistakes all the time. They drive drunk. They drive distracted. They drive aggressively. They kill people all the time. More than 38,000 people died in wrecks in 2015. That’s more than 100 people per day.

Even if self driving cars killed 50 people per day, we’d be doing much better than the system does now.


My wife’s parents could use a self driving car right now. Her mother doesn’t drive and her father has dementia. He can’t find any place new and has problems finding many places he used to get to with ease. They depend on neighbors for rides or for my wife to drive 45 minutes to get to their house, run errands, then drive the 45 minutes home. She does it, but it wears her out.